Introduction: DIY Nesting Lab Benches
Needed space efficient work tables. By nesting the tables I would be able to reduce my floor space requirements by half. The final product worked out very well - a large workbench that is 41 inches high, 60 inches wide and 27 inches deep and a work desk that nests within the work bench. I came up with the original concept during a work meeting - shown in the second picture.
Step 1: Making the Workbench Top Panel
I had got a dining table top from a freecycler which was 82 x 35 inches. Spent some time figuring out how I could make the workbench and desk tops from these. I then cut out the workbench top with a circular saw. The remaining pieces would be used later to assemble the desk top.
A 2x4 was used as backing strip to stiffen the bench top. Slots were cut with a biscuit joiner into the 2x4 and matching slots were cut into the edge of the top panel, glue was applied, biscuits placed into the slots and strip was clamped onto the back on the top panel. Recessed screws were also used to attach the back strip to the panel.
Step 2: Making the Desk Top Panel
The remaining pieces from the old dining table top panel were assembled as shown in the first diagram to make the desk top. Biscuits were used to attach the support strip made out of a 2x4 to the panel. First the right hand side piece was glued in with biscuits, then the middle piece followed by the left hand side piece. Finally the larger piece was glued with biscuits on top of the three pieces.
Which the glue was drying I cut put cross beams that would link the legs of the bench and desks together out of 2x4's. I shaped one of the cross beams on a band saw to make them look a bit nicer.
Step 3: Making the Legs
The legs were rectangular frames that were made from 2x4's with the front and the curves being cut into the bottom and front pieces on a bandsaw. Glue and screws were used to assemble the pieces into the frames. The leg frames were then attached to the bench top with the back of the frame being attached to a recess cut into the 2x4 support strip. A screw was used to attach the leg frame to the bench top.
The base of the caster wheels that I had removed from Harbor Freight dollies were wider that the 2x4 (~1.5x3.5 inches). I shaped additional pieces on the bandsaw and glued and screwed these of the legs. Will be attaching the wheels to the wider surface.
A shaped cross beam was attached between the two frames in the back and an additional cross beam was attached to the front 9 inches below the bottom of a future drawer.
I also cut L-shaped brackets from 2x4s by first marking squares, cutting a hole in the center of the square and then cutting these diagonally. The brackets were used to reinforce the corners.
Step 4: Assembling the Desk
The assembled bench served as a great surface to assemble the desk. I followed the same approach. Made rectangular leg frames from 2x4's. The front legs were shaped on a bandsaw after tracing the curves from the bench legs so that they would align when the tables were nested together. I added shaped pieces to hold the wheels but this time the support pieces were attached to the inside of the legs unlike the bench where the pieces were attached to the outside. This would give enough room for the wheels to rotate.
Only one shaped cross beam was used to attached the left and right frames together. I held off using a crossbeam in the front.
You can also see an oak strip attached below the desktop. This was to reinforce the seam of the top panel where the top panel pieces were joined together.
The wheels were attached with screws completing the assembly of te desk.
Step 5: Finishing the Tables
I trimmed the right edge of the desk. While trimming, made a stupid and cut too far to the left. So filled the cut and then screwed from the edge with long screws that bridged the cut area to strengthen the area. The 2nd image shows the two tables nested together. Cute.
Had leftover wood stain, stated applying that when I realized that I had not trimmed the front of the desk panel. It projected too far out when the tables were nested. So went ahead and trimmed that, using a long wooden peie as a saw guide.
Filled in as many of the gaps and some of the screw holes, then sanded the legs and cross beams and applied one coat of the gel stain to all surfaces other than the top panels. Once this coat had dried, applied a coat of a floor polyurethane and let that dry.
For the top panels, I had to use a belt sander and then stained with leftover cherry stain and a few coats of polyurethane. I poly'ed the top and bottom surfaces.
Step 6: Next Steps
Still have to add the large drawers for the workbench and the desk.
And make shelves that will rest on top of the bench and may make two side tables that nest within the desk.